When a person is incapacitated and suffers a personal injury, it may be necessary to file a claim for relief on their behalf. Fortunately, there are ways in which another person can pursue a personal injury claim for an incapacitated person. Here is what you need to know about filing a personal injury claim in this situation:
With a Legal Guardian
In Florida, a person can be placed under the care and control of another person, who acts as their “guardian” provided certain legal criteria can be established. This generally requires a showing that the incapacitated person is not capable of taking care of themselves and therefore requires another person to make decisions on their behalf. In the case where an incapacitated person has a guardian, Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.210(b) provides that the guardian may sue on behalf of the individual. The guardian will not be party to the lawsuit but will perform all of the necessary tasks to institute and maintain the lawsuit as if they were the injured person seeking relief.
Without a Legal Guardian
However, there can be circumstances when an incapacitated person does not have a legal guardian. In the instance where the person is not under guardianship, Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.210(b) also states that an “incompetent person who does not have a duly appointed representative may sue by next friend or by a guardian ad litem.” What this means is that someone who is acting on an incapacitated person's behalf or "next friend" can file a lawsuit if a guardian is not yet appointed. If the court has appointed a "guardian ad litem", a person designated by the court to look out for the person's best interest, they may also file a personal injury action. Rule 1.210(b) also requires that the court must appoint a guardian ad litem for an incapacitated person not otherwise represented in an action or must make such other order as it deems proper for the protection of the person. The court may also appoint a guardian ad litem where the guardian may potentially have an adverse interest in the incapacitated person's case.
Advocating on behalf of an injured person following their personal injury can be complex. This can be especially true when you are not familiar with the legal requirements for a personal injury suit. We have knowledge about and experience with helping people pursue claims on behalf of injured adults and can help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.